Ole Miss set a school record Thursday night with three first round picks selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft in Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche.
Despite the countless mock drafts and endless speculation by the NFL’s experts, no one could have predicted what would happen to Tunsil in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Tunsil’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were reportedly hacked. A video of him smoking a possibly illegal substance out of a gas mask was posted onto his Twitter just minutes before the draft began. It was clear the video affected his draft stock, as the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and New York Giants all passed on him despite all having a need at offensive tackle.
Treadwell, meanwhile, didn’t experience any drama on draft night as the team most people had him predicted to go to, the Minnesota Vikings, drafted him with the No. 23 overall pick. Treadwell should fit in well and be an immediate contributor in Minnesota, as their offensive style and quarterback Teddy Bridegwater’s penchant for throwing short and intermediate passes instead of airing it out deep fit Treadwell’s play style very well. Treadwell excels at receiver through physicality, route-running and soft hands, and he could be Bridgewater’s new favorite target next season.
Getting picked No. 29 overall might not seem perfect for Nkemdiche, but there might not be a defensive system in the league that fits Nkemdiche better than the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals switch between a 3-4 and a 4-3 as their base defense, and with Nkemdiche’s size and agility he could damage from either the 3-4 defensive end spot or the 4-3 defensive tackle position. Nkemdiche might not have made as much money as some of the prospects picked higher in the draft, but he will have the best chance to compete for a championship next year. The Cardinals were one game away from the Super Bowl last season and look to be a formidable team again next year.
In the end, Tunsil wasn’t drafted until the No. 13 overall pick, when the Miami Dolphins ended his slide after two other tackles were taken before him. Both tackles, Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame and Jack Conklin of Michigan State, were not previously predicted to be taken before Tunsil. Tunsil’s salary will be considerably smaller with the Dolphins than it would’ve been had one of the top teams in the draft selected him.
Despite the draft day tumble, Tunsil still went to a team that he will fit well with and had a glaring need at tackle. With pass rushers like Jerry Hughes and Rob Ninkovic in the Dolphins division, Tunsil will be critical to protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and will likely be relied on to do so from day one.